Sixteen-year-old Bart Cowperthwaite is a student at Academy of Colorado Ballet with a serious competitive streak. On top of performing when needed in the main company’s larger productions, he competes almost monthly with the school’s Aspirations troupe. He has won several top awards, including Mr. Dance Champs in February at Dance Champs. This July he will compete in West Coast Dance Explosion’s National Finals in Las Vegas.
Why did you get into competitions?
At competitions you often get to take class from top teachers like Mia Michaels. You learn their styles and points of view. I also love hearing what the judges have to say. They’re not your teacher so they have an unbiased opinion of your dancing.
What styles do you compete with?
I try to do everything. I started in hip hop, then got into jazz, tap, ballet and modern.
What do you get out of competing?
It keeps me on my toes. Because different people are watching your movement, you’re never going to win every time. It’s very subjective, so you can never fall into a routine of just being good at one thing.
What are you looking forward to about the West Coast Dance Explosion?
It’s one of the few competitions where you get ballet classes. It’s huge on technique. I’m also excited because I have the opportunity to win a scholarship to fly out every weekend for the next year and perform in their conventions all over the country. —JS